It’s Valentine’s Day and it’s a snow day. The kids’ cards are all ready and packed in their backpacks. This morning we baked heart-shaped cookies for the class parties which are now going to take place tomorrow. This afternoon we’re going to venture out though we may rush back in quickly for hot chocolate–it’s cooooold out there!

Tonight we’re going to have our usual celebration: dinner (pink food: ham and a Lithuanian beet salad we like which is also very pretty, along with sparkling grape juice for the kids and the real stuff for the adults) and a few small gifts, books and chocolate, the like. Low-key and relatively non-commercial. Babysitters and dinner reservations are a bear to get this night anyway and my husband and I hate crowded restaurants. Even in the BK (Before Kids) years we usually had an intimate dinner at home. We eat out at other times. And what we do afterwards isn’t something we don’t do the rest of the year either.

Which gets me to the root of my Valentine’s cynicism: I have overheard married guys say it is their big night for the year. I could further ponder whether the ritual wouldn’t occur without the customary offerings of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and diamond pendants. I find that anything but romantic.

But I wonder if this holiday has its uses. I bet some of these men who enjoy complaining about married life really do love their wives but are too embarrassed to find unique ways of showing it. I suspect the average American male (if there is such a thing, of course) likes a script: the chocolates, the dozen roses, the pendant. It doesn’t necessarily mean the feelings aren’t genuine. Some of the grumbling is just backhanded boasting, maybe.

Still, isn’t it amazing when guys take a chance and do something original? In romance novels, especially historicals, men seduce their ladies all sorts of ways. I’ve always thought I would melt if someone sang to me or composed a poem to my fine eyes. But I won’t hold my breath waiting for my husband to break out in verse. He does buy me books, gives good massages and makes me gourmet sandwiches invented from whatever is in our fridge and pantry. The best thing is he does these things for me year-round.

So no, Valentine’s isn’t a big romantic deal for me. OTOH it’s not a bad way to liven up a doldrumy sort of month.

So what do you think? Do you love or loathe this holiday, or something in between? Are you doing anything special? And if you could imagine the ultimate romantic gesture, what would it be?

Hoping fantasy and reality aren’t too far apart, that everyone stays warm and safe, and wishing you all a happy Valentine’s Day!

Elena 🙂

P.S. Make your own Valentine’s candy heart image at